Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture with Specialization in History and Theory of Architecture

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

52 credit hours beyond the master’s degree (master’s degree required)
Written qualifying examination
Comprehensive examination
Dissertation and oral defense
Reading knowledge of two foreign languages (generally German, French, or Italian)

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Architecture program is for those individuals who desire to pursue careers in academia and/or in research-based professional practice. As the most advanced academic degree, the Ph.D. recognizes both the highest level of expertise and the production of significant novel work. The program demands a deep understanding of architecture’s history and its contemporary intellectual terrain, a command of advanced research methodologies, and a commitment to critical inquiry that extends its frontiers.

The program begins with advanced coursework and culminates in a dissertation that is the result of extensive, original, and rigorous research and thought. The Ph.D. program grows out of the school’s collective commitment to progressive research that is grounded in the realities of the workplace and devoted to contesting existing values and ideologies. Doctoral students will participate in the experiments of design studios and will later help guide these efforts in mentoring roles, helping to shape the debate within the college through their involvement in the college’s “cloud studio.”

Admission Requirements

An applicant to the doctoral program must hold a professional Master of Architecture degree (M.Arch.) from an NAAB-accredited U.S. university or the equivalent. Candidates who have not completed the required professional M.Arch. degree may apply for either the Master of Architecture or the Master of Science in Architecture program at Illinois Institute of Technology to fulfill that requirement, as a non-terminal program of studies preparatory for the doctoral program.

The applicant should meet all entrance requirements of the university’s Graduate College, plus a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, a TOEFL score of at least 80/550, and at least three letters of recommendation from immediate supervising professors. The applicant should also submit a statement of purpose indicating a subject of study or research work and should provide a portfolio demonstrating the qualities of his or her accomplishments and expertise.

Degree Requirements

The program requires a minimum of 52 credit hours usually completed in three-and-a-half to four years beyond the M.Arch. degree. The majority of the coursework will be selected from the curriculum with the College of Architecture, though students are encouraged to have their research find connections to other doctoral programs at the university.

Upon completion of the first academic year, the candidate will be required to pass a written qualifying examination before he or she will officially be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. At the end of the program, the candidate will take a final examination which will consist of an oral presentation and defense of of the dissertation. Current areas of study include high-rise and long-span buildings, technology applications, energy conscious design, emerging urbanisms, housing, history/theory, and advanced computer applications. Work for the Ph.D. must be completed within six years after admission to doctoral candidacy.


All students will enter the program with a master’s degree, hence the minimum credit hours of Ph.D. study is 52. The first doctoral methodology course (ARCH 601) is taken in the first semester of the first year; the second doctoral methodology course (ARCH 602 ) is directed to the preparation of the comprehensive exam proposal. 

Required Courses (18)
ARCH 500Global Modernism3
ARCH 501Contemporary Architecture3
ARCH 502Advanced Topics in History and Theory I3
ARCH 503Advanced Topics in History and Theory II3
ARCH 601Doctoral Methodology Pre-Seminar3
ARCH 602Crafting a Dissertation3
Electives (18)
Select 18 credit hours 118
Ph.D. Research (16)
ARCH 691Doctoral Research16
Master's Transfer Coursework (32)
A maximum of 32 credit hours may be transferred from master's degree32
Total Credit Hours84

Electives will be tailored to the student’s particular field of study. For instance, a student working on the social dimension of architectural thought might take higher level courses in the social sciences or humanities. Electives include the special projects or directed readings course (ARCH 597). The College of Architecture will also accept the following courses from other university departments: CAE 597, CAE 691, ID 598ID 691, MMAE 597, MMAE 691, PHIL 597